PCDC Announces Major Incentives to Revitalize Downtown Holdrege

20 Sep 2018

Old buildings in downtown Holdrege may have a fresh start thanks to a new PCDC program.

The Phelps County Development Corporation created the GO! DREAM programs to continue downtown revitalization efforts started five years ago and to give building owners the resources they need to bring to life the dreams they have for their historic buildings.

“This is what we are doing downtown because people have dreams for these buildings,” said Carley Bruning, PCDC’s Director of Business Services. “We want future generations to continue to enjoy these buildings.”

The Downtown Revitalization Economic Assistance Mission (DREAM) offers downtown building owners an opportunity to receive major grants to update building facades and replace signs and lighting, and low-interest loans to bring buildings up to code to create downtown living units. The DREAM program replaces the First Impression Grants that had been offered during the past year.

PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said Holdrege has several “vulnerable” downtown buildings that are in need of some TLC. These larger grants and loans will give building owners the resources they need to save these buildings.

“We want to celebrate these buildings that are distinctive and worth saving,” Tillery said.

Tillery said design standards will be set requiring owners receiving grants and loans to make long-lasting and quality renovations instead of “putting Band-aids” on a building.

“We recognize that one of the biggest challenges with old buildings is to bring them up to standards,” Tillery said. “That’s the biggest obstacle that owners face in converting upper spaces to living spaces.”

The GO! DREAM program offers three incentives:

1) First Impression Building Façade Grants:

  • Up to $10,000 in matching grants to improve building facades
  • Up to $2,500 in matching grants to new signs and exterior lighting
  • Grants may also be combined with low-interest flex loan program for major renovations

2) Code Compliance Grant To Create Downtown Living Units:

  • Up to $10,000 in matching grants per new living unit created in downtown Holdrege (if five living units are created, up to $50,000 in grants could be awarded). Work may include fire and safety, electrical, plumbing, structural and other related work to make outdated buildings habitable. Grants may be combined with flex loan program

3) Flex Loan Major Renovations:

  • For interior or exterior major renovations costing more than $10,000
  • These low-interest loans must be paired with a bank loan and may be combined with other PCDC grant programs. PCDC loans cannot exceed 50 percent of the total financing package.

With the new DREAM program, a single building owner could get up to $42,500 in matching grants if they plan to create three new living units plus update their building’s façade and signage. ($10,000 for each living unit, $10,000 for the façade and $2,500 for the sign).

Tillery said that in addition to offering these new incentives, PCDC is revisiting a downtown revitalization study that was conducted in 2013.

The study led to updated sidewalks, lighting, curbs, landscaping and other improvements to downtown Holdrege.

“But, we didn’t accomplish everything,” Tillery said. “What we want to do is to take stock of where what was done and what was left undone.”

Tillery said creating living units and continuing revitalization efforts will lead to positive vibes downtown, which is the heart of the community. It is hoped that these efforts will encourage new residents to locate in Holdrege and spark continued economic development and business growth.

For more information about the new GO! DREAM programs or downtown revitalization, please contact Ron Tillery at Ron@PhelpsCountyNE.com  or Carley Bruning at Carley@PhelpsCountyNE.com or call PCDC at (308) 995-4148.

To apply for grant or for specific details, visit http://www.phelpscountyne.com/phelps/about-us/go!-programs/go-dream-programs on the PCDC website.